A bill that would be one of the most restrictive on abortion procedures in the United States, took one step closer to becoming the law.
Kentucky's Republican-controlled Senate overwhelmingly passed a bill (31-5) on Wednesday, that would ban a certain procedure used during the second trimester of a pregnancy, according to the Louisville Courier Journal. The procedure is known as dilation and evacuation, or D&E, and "involves dilating the cervix and removing the fetus using suction and surgical tools," and would become banned 11 weeks into a pregnancy, the Journal reported.
Only 11 percent of abortions in the country take place after the first trimester, but 95 percent of those procedures are D&E, the Journal noted. The bill, H.B. 454 would make it a felony for a doctor to perform the procedure, and is now headed back to the House to be concurred.
Kentucky's House of Representatives already passed the bill, 71-11, but the Senate version contained different language. But, "the restrictions remain the same as those the other chamber approved," the Journal noted. The bill is expected to soon land on the desk of Republican Gov. Matt Bevin, who has already attempted to outlaw abortion in the state, and will likely be signed into law.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky has staunchly opposed the bill. Advocacy Director Kate Miller said, "It prevents physicians from using their best medical judgment when providing abortions, interfering with the doctor-patient relationship, risking health."
The bill comes at a time when similar abortion measure have popped up in several states across the nation, many of which have been struck down by the courts.
On Monday, just two days before the bill passed the Kentucky Senate, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant, signed into law a ban of any type of abortion procedure after 15 weeks, Reuters reported. The next day the law was blocked temporarily by a federal judge "pending legal arguments over whether the injunction should remain in effect while the overall case remains under judicial review."
While the Kentucky bill may soon be signed into law when lawmakers return from recess on Tuesday, legal challenged could loom ahead. Similar measures have been so far struck down by the courts in Texas, Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas and Oklahoma, Reuters noted.
The GOP has long sought to restrict abortion and other women's reproductive rights in the U.S. as much as possible, and have recently attempted to crack down on birth control as well.